Game 1 Exclusive Video:
Inside Toronto’s home ice arena during pre-game introduction
Media Frenzy at 2014 AFHL Stanley Cup Finals
Furino: “This is the best matchup in AFHL Stanley Cup history.”
March 31st, 2014
The entire first floor of the Red Devils’ home ice arena was transformed into a madhouse of media personnel this afternoon.
For a few brief hours before the puck drops on the ice tonight for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the players at least appeared to be relaxed as hoards of media cornered every player wanting to get bulletin board material.
TheAFHL.com was there.
Here are some quotes, quips, and observations…
Vipers defenseman Zdeno Chara:
Q – What do you have to do to beat them?
Chara – Getting through the neutral zone successfully against them is probably the key. If we can get through there, we can get on the forecheck. Our forecheck has probably been the reason we’ve been so successful. We need to play like we have been the first two series. Top to bottom, we’ve had contributions from everyone.
Vipers goaltender Carey Price:
Q – You have been stealing games for your team in the Playoffs.
Price – No. I wouldn’t say I was stealing games. I think it was a team effort. We’re a great team. So I wouldn’t look at it as stealing games. My job’s the same as it was in October. Gotta stop the puck. That’s it.
Red Devils forward Steven Stamkos:
Q – What do you think of the atmosphere right now?
Stamkos – Well, this is it. Obviously this is the big show. It’s gotten bigger and bigger every series. You can tell. Two Canadian teams in the Finals. There’s always going to be a lot of media attention in Canada. This is the ultimate thing. The entire hockey world is watching this. These are the type of games you love to play in. It’s a fun thing to be a part of.
Vipers forward Alex Ovechkin:
Q – There’s always been a rivalry between the Vipers and Red Devils. What impact does that have on the series?
Ovechkin – The focus is on winning the series with the Cup on the line. But I think playing the Red Devils brings up a whole other set of emotions. I guess you can say I don’t like those guys.
Red Devils forward Patrik Elias:
Q – Have you been studying up on the Vipers?
Elias – Yeah obviously you do your homework before each series. We’ve done ours, we’ve done our video and everything. I’m sure they’ve done theirs on us so I think both teams are going to be ready come game time obviously we’re both very hungry and excited to get it under way. But for the most part right now I think it’s all going to be desire and who wants it most at this point.
Red Devils defenseman Erik Karlsson:
Q – How would you describe this media frenzy right now?
Neal – It almost feels like it’s the all star game, when everyone had their little podium and a lot of media outlets around, too. So it’s a huge deal. Seems like it’s bigger than the Olympics to me right now, to be honest with you. It’s going to be a long series. It’s going to be exciting. How could it not be? The city’s on fire. You walk around Toronto and everyone’s rooting for the Red Devils, everyone’s expecting good things. So hopefully we can give it to them.
Red Devils forward James Neal:
Q – There’s talk about similarities between the two teams. Do you see that?
Neal – Yeah. We’re both really good teams from the back end out. Both teams have great goaltending. Both teams jump on opportunities on turnovers to create offense. Both teams work hard, finish checks, play hard in every area on the ice. I think it’s going to be a real battle to try to win this series.
Vipers goalie Semyon Varlamov:
Q – Do you look forward to David Backes’ net front presence?
Varlamov – I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it haha but it’s certainly something that’s going to have to happen.
Red Devils forward Jamie Benn:
Q – How do you feel about being in the Finals?
Benn – I’m trying to keep it out of my mind because if it starts sinking in I’m going to realize how big it is and I don’t want to get too nervous.